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One Year After 15 Died in Preventable Texas Fertilizer Blast, Safety Rules Stalled


When the West, Texas, fertilizer plant, where 30 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate—stored in wooden sheds without sprinkler systems and near other combustible material—caught fire, exploded and killed 15 people, including 10 emergency responders, the state of Texas had virtually no regulations governing ammonium nitrate and other hazardous chemicals. A year later, it still doesn’t.

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Eye-Witness to the Cruel Conditions in Tobacco Farm Labor Camps

Brenda Loya in AFL-CIO Media Affairs sends us this from North Carolina, where she is on a fact-finding trip to witness the brutal conditions endured by tobacco workers.

We joined a diverse delegation of 25 activists, students, labor and community leaders and traveled to farm labor camps in Dudley, N.C.., to witness firsthand the appalling and abusive conditions of tobacco farm workers.

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Global Union Leaders Demand Fair Treatment for T-Mobile

Teresa Casertano in the AFL-CIO Organizing Department’s Global Campaigns section sends us this report.

Some 50 leaders from communications and information and technology unions around the world took time out from a global conference to sign a letter to Deustche Telecom CEO Rene Obermann, demanding that Deutsche Telecom end its assault on workers’ rights at T-Mobile USA. T-Mobile USA, the largest Deutsche Telekom subsidiary, is waging a vicious anti-union campaign against workers who have chosen to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

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Iowans Tell Wisconsin Gov. Walker to Go Home

AFL-CIO Field Communications staffer Cathy Sherwin sends us this report.

When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker headed over to Iowa to raise money for the right-wing special interest group, the Heritage Foundation, union members and Occupy Des Moines protesters were there to greet him. A crowd of more than 200 filled the sidewalk outside the fundraiser: teachers and jobless Iowans, construction workers and retirees, community activists and families with children.

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Scenes from Occupy Wall Street

Check out our new video from the Occupy Wall Street movement and click here to go to our We Are the 99% site to share your photos, video and stories from Occupy Wall Street actions in your community. Click here to find an Occupy Wall Street event near you.

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Former Massey Official Guilty in Upper Big Branch Mine Case

The former director of security at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch (W.Va.) mine  was found guilty in federal court of lying to federal agents and destroying documents sought by investigators looking into the deadly blast. Twenty-nine  miners were killed in the 2010 explosion.

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UAW Members Ratify New Contract with Chrysler

UAW members at Chrysler have voted to approve a new four-year agreement with the automaker, the last of the Big Three contracts to be ratified. Earlier this month Ford workers approved a contract and in September UAW members ratified a four-year contract with General Motors.

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Latino Labor Organization Calls for New Approach on Immigration

Andrea Delgado, LCLAA policy analyst and communications manager, sends us this. 

Politicians must stop blaming immigrants and focus on the root causes of immigration—addiction to cheap labor and free trade policies that displace workers—according to a new study by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), an AFL-CIO constituency group.

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Top 1% Double Their Income; Economy Sputters

A new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows that over the past 30 years, the top 1 percent of income earners more than doubled their share of the national income pie. According to the Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, that’s a recipe for disaster—not just for the other 99 percent, but for the economy as a whole.

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Details Emerge on Big Biz Role in Trade Talks

In an eye-opening piece on how high-level politics play out behind the closed doors most of us never got to peek behind, National Journal reporter Chris Frates tracks the plays and the players who put together the just-passed, job-killing Korea, Colombia and Panama trade deals.

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Trumka: Tear Gassing, Arrests of Wall Street Protesters Must Stop

In Oakland, Calif., police used tear gas last night to disperse Occupy Oakland protesters and arrested dozens (see video at left). Occupy Atlanta, Occupy Chicago and protesters in other cities also have been targeted by authorities

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